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Onboarding Customers

Matteo Concas
Former Head of Growth, N26

Learning outcomes

  • Challenges N26 faced in onboarding customers due to passport identification software
  • The importance of building a frictionless onboarding process for growth
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Executive Bio

Matteo Concas

Former Head of Growth, N26

Matteo is one of the leading fintech marketers in Europe. In 2017, he joined N26, the leading European digital bank, as Country Manager of Italy. He was responsible for building the growth and business development strategy where he led the region to be one of the fastest for the Group. In 2018, Matteo moved to Head of Growth for Europe where he was leading all digital marketing channels. Matteo left N26 in late 2018 to found Beesy, an Italian B2B banking platform for SMB’s and freelancers, which later merged with Penta of which he is now CMO. Matteo enjoyed four years of Investment Banking in London before entering fintech. Read more

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Interview Transcript

What was your biggest challenge, looking back over that first year in Italy, for example? What was the biggest challenge in acquiring customers?

Italy was a very special case. We talked before about this video identification and the issues that we had with the video. The second one, specifically for Italy, was that N26, being based in Germany, with a German partner for the identification, you need to abide by the German laws, in terms of anti-money laundering. The anti-money laundering rules in Germany do not allow you to accept, as a valid ID, the main Italian ID issued document. Why? Because we still have a mostly paper-based, 1800 technology, as an ID. We are one of the very few European countries, still with this. Now it’s improving but still, many people do not have the electronic one, which is a plastic card, similar to the driving license, with a few more features.

Because of that, we were losing a lot of people. They would start the identification and the operator would ask them, show me your passport, because we were only able to accept the passports. People would say that they don’t have a passport. So, goodbye. We were losing a lot of clients, because of that. We were at a 15% to 20% conversion rate, while the average in Europe, ex Germany, was around 40% to 50%. In Germany, it was 60% to 70%, because being German, the operator, the partner, they were very optimized on identifying the German IDs. So that was a disaster, a complete disaster.

That was number one. But we solved it and, actually, it came mostly from a need to help Italy to change from video to photo and using a partner that was no longer based in Germany, but in another European country. In this case, the Netherlands, which allows, having done certain more risk analysis on the validity and physical check of the Italian ID, that it was a real one, to allow it and accept it. That was the game changer; it took us some time.

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